The TES Special Education Needs roadshow.

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The TES Special Education Needs roadshow.

Seminar one - The SEND update.

Published: 15/02/2017

My name is Kelly Woollard and I’ve been a Senior SEN recruiter for more than 8 years. The importance of keeping up-to-date with the latest developments within the field of SEN teaching and SEN support is imperative.

This knowledge enables me to ensure my fabulous SEN team, are up to date with the new changes in the SEN code, the developments through the NASEN, and the latest SEN diagnosis for students. During the two day event, the SEN team took part in several seminars which were interactive, inspirational and informative.

The first Seminar was on the changes to the SEN code of practice. Whilst I don’t envy any SENCO having to implement the code or the new changes, I can appreciate why the changes have come about. To summarise, the 4 main changes that came into effect this year are: SEND (the terminology) SEND means special education needs and disabilities. The SEN code states “A child has SEND where their learning difficulty or disability calls for the special educational provision, that is provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age”. E.G a student may have a disability like Dwarfism, but not actually have a special educational need e.g Dyslexia and vice versa. Educational Health and care plan

The LEA now must provide an EHC (Educational Health and Care plan), this includes not only educational support but all SEN support within the local area and to include parents into the EHC at every stage.

The four areas of needs

The Code of Practice identifies four broad areas of need: communication and interaction, cognition and learning, sensory and/or physical needs, and social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The Code of Practice no longer makes reference to behavioural difficulties. Who the code of practice supports

The Code of Practice now covers children and young people from birth to 25.

So how does this then effect SEN teaching and SEN teaching assistants?

The SEN code states that “Teachers are both responsible and accountable for the progress and development of all pupils in their class, including those pupils who access support from teaching assistants or specialist staff. Where support staff work with pupils with SEN, the teacher has overall responsibility for those pupils and must ensure that they make appropriate progress”

While the SEN teacher is responsible, often a SEN teaching assistant works one on one with a child and therefore has spent more time with that child. The temptation should not be to tell the child the answers to the work they are doing, but to encourage the child to seek out the answers for themselves. SEN teachers and SEN teaching assistants must now work closer together to ensure the SEN teacher is the teacher and the SEN teaching assistant, assists. More collaboration on planning, achievable outcomes of learning and development of independence is needed.

How an SEN school or provision implements these changes, will be a challenge for everyone. I’m sure more changes will come along as the SEN code evolves, but it’s truly refreshing to see the open minded supportive approach that the DFE is showing towards the support and learning of special needs children and young adults. It’s a challenge, but an exciting time to be a SEN teacher or a SEN teaching assistant.

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